Is it appealing? Unattractive?
Today, we can’t deny the fact that there aren’t many female-DJs in the music industry and this is something that baffles me completely knowing the fact that as a whole, women are just as musically talented as men. Talent is something you are born with; it is your craft and gift, a set of skills you develop, nothing that is bestowed upon you because of your sex; male or female. DJ’ing is very technical, I find myself wondering if this is the reason that women have been left in the dark? We have all heard the generalizations of women and their lack of skills when it comes to something technical, “that’s a man’s job” they say, regardless we are just as capable. The inconsiderable amount of female-DJs compared to male-DJs could possibly be built up on stereotypes which result into discouraging aspiring female-DJs into pursuing their potential in this field. I suppose, it can be a little daunting- I understand that. Nevertheless, times are changing and there is abundance infemale-DJs- a rise in their pursuit of such a career, most importantly; it has become popular or so to say a ”trend.” There is a huge difference in thinking vs acting and the outcome of acting on something you wish to pursue affects others around you, more than you are aware of. The more female-DJs follow their dreams and passion; they are paving the way for others without even realizing it by setting an example and breaking barriers.
I am a DJ/producer based in Gothenburg, Sweden. MissTee is my DJ-name. I entered this world of music with an open mind and heart, not aware of the constraints one does encounter as a female-DJ. Then again, in every sector there are constraints- every profession has their advantages and disadvantages; pros and cons. In saying that, I wish to shed some light on my journey so far.
Up to now I have learnt a great deal, this has been an adventurous venture of self-development, awareness, discipline, creativity and professionalism. It’s a tough industry, you really have to be prepared to face negativity and be assertive, and otherwise you will be walked all over. The dynamic tools that I have acquired in my line of work are beneficiary to me even in my personal life. In that being said, I can only gain from my experiences.
One common factor I have faced is getting a sense of being underestimated by other male-DJs or even by management in nightclubs in certain situations where for example, there is a technical fault in the equipment and they do not think as a female, I am capable of fixing the problem. It occurs, time and time again although however there is no greater satisfaction than proving those wrong who underestimate you. It has been quite hilarious at times, just to see the reaction on their faces when I have surpassed their expectations. I have accepted the fact that in being a female-DJ in this industry, this is an ordeal that I will have to experience. But, you know what? I will gladly do it, because I believe in what I do and I hold it with the highest regard; it is my fulfillment and my calling. We should take pride in what we do, whatever our profession may be- always put all your heart and soul into it. If things don’t succeed how you wished, at the end of the day your conscience is clear in knowing that you gave it your all.
When I am on the scene in the DJ booth, there are a lot of factors I encounter. There can be distractions that I have experienced such as, guys that I don’t know whom come up to me and want to to play, in other words; they want to take over my set. When I first started DJing, this was a shock to me because I never knew of such a thing nor heard about it through fellow DJs before. It’s quite shocking how much audacity some people have, then again opportunists exist everywhere so once you’re aware of them it’s something you can’t really take so seriously.
I had this dialogue in my mind;
“I am the one booked to play on this night, which I’ve worked very hard to get.”
“It is my name on the line-up, not theirs!”
“Why should I give up my set to someone I don’t even know?”
Every time it happens to me now, I simply laugh about it. It’s important to be able to say “no” and not feel guilty, for the right reasons of course. In the beginning it was hard for me to say that, I felt pressured. I’ve learnt that in being too nice will get you nowhere; be humble and be firm!
Respecting each other’s set-times as DJs is very important. If your set is from point A to B for example, you have to stick by it and respect who’s playing before you and after you.
I’ve found myself in several situations where it was my time to play and the DJ playing before me, just wouldn’t budge! Or, he would make excuses to prolong his set. I’m laughing as I’m writing this now, however when you are in that present moment, the tension can rise and it’s not so entertaining. I can’t help but think that as a female-DJ, some try to take advantage of that. It seems like they have this perception; because we are female we are feminine, submissive or just don’t have the courage to stand up for ourselves. Again, stereotypes that are not credible and on the contrary, definitely not true! Let’s not forget to mention the occasional drunk guy hovering into the DJ-booth being very inappropriate, with too much body contact.
Need I say anymore?
An influential part from the beginning of my journey was when I heard about Yoko DJs. I was introduced to the director, Magdalena Klingstrand who informed me about her organization:Yoko DJs is a nonprofit organization in Gothenburg who are working to create a more equal music scene; they work to counter the alienation faced by women in the DJ world and promote youth and young adults music interests. Yoko DJs concept is something I can definitely relate to in so many ways. A factor why I still keep pushing myself today as a DJ because there aren’t enough female DJs out there. We are underestimated and dismissed in a male dominated industry!
I don’t want to be categorized as the cliché’ “female DJ,” I want to be known as the DJ who’s not afraid to let go, not shy to dance and give herself entirely to the crowd and music. I’m not up there to look pretty, I’m up there to have fun and share my love for music with the crowd, which is my core focus. So far, I’m glad I’ve gone through diverse experiences in my DJ career, and I welcome more with open arms. You’ve got to take it all with a pinch of salt and use such experiences as a common ground for learning.
Do I get frustrated at times?
For sure, I have my days! However, this affects me more in a positive way believe it or not. I am certain of who I am, where I’ve been and where I am going.
Who knows, maybe one day I’ll write my own memoir? “A memoir of a DJ: MISSTEE…”
I haven’t ruled it out!
Written by our own Female Dj – Tanya Sojka aka DJ MissTee
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